Tag Archives: education

The Theosophical Roots of a Spiritual Education

intelligentdesign

Growing Imagination

THE emergence of a new spiritual epoch in education may have dawned far back in the late 19th century driven by Theosophical principles.

New educational reforms encompassing spiritual development are evident in the formation of new schools today, many of which embody the eternal principles championed by H. P. Blavatsky in The Key to Theosophy.

“In many countries, educational reforms are taking place to consider the changing needs of 21st century learners,” writes Canadian theosophist Kathleen Hall in The Theosophical Roots of Spiritual Education, noting how:

“The old factory model of education that was mainly concerned with churning out obedient workers no longer suits the needs of today’s world.”

The principles defined by Madame Blavatsky in The Key to Theosophy, raised the educational bar, both then and now .Children should above all be taught self-reliance,” she declared, “love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves.”

Adding: “We would reduce the purely mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum and devote the time to the development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capacities …

meditation_dalai-lama

Meditation

“Deal with each child as a unit and educate it so as to produce the most harmonious and equal unfoldment of its powers, in order that its special aptitudes should find their full natural development; Aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish.” (Theosophy and Education).

“The object of modern education is to pass examinations, a system [adapted] not to develop right emulation, but to generate and breed jealousy, envy, hatred almost, in young people for one another, and thus train them for a life of ferocious selfishness and struggle for honours and emoluments instead of kindly feeling.”

Continue reading

Unfolding Children’s Powers: Music and the Brain

Child-Playing-PianoTHE emergence of a new spiritual epoch may have dawned far back in the late 19th century driven by Theosophical principles.

New educational reforms encompassing spiritual development are evident in the formation of visionary new schools today, public and private sector, many of which embody the eternal principles championed by H. P. Blavatsky in The Key to Theosophy.

“In many countries, educational reforms are taking place to consider the changing needs of 21st century learners,” writes Canadian theosophist Kathleen Hall in The Theosophical Roots of Spiritual Education, noting how:

“The old factory model of education that was mainly concerned with churning out obedient workers no longer suits the needs of today’s world.”

The principles defined by Madame Blavatsky in The Key to Theosophy, raised the educational bar, both then and now .Children should above all be taught self-reliance,” she declared, “love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves.”

Adding: “We would reduce the purely mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum and devote the time to the development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capacities …

Continue reading

The Child-state We Have Lost

olivia-boulerELEVEN years old and “willing to help” was how Olivia Bouler described herself to the Audubon Society when she contacted them about the infamous oil spill tragedy in the Gulf.

The youthful and aspiring ornithologist, artist, and saxophone player wept — like many of us — when she heard about the oil spill in the news.

But uniquely, Olivia was moved to help. Knowing birds were going to suffer, she had to take action.

Inspired by her hero, James Audubon, Olivia wrote to the Audubon Society about her fund-raising idea — using her talent as an artist to give bird drawings to those who donated to wildlife recovery efforts.

To date, she has drawn more than 100 different species of birds, and 400 + original drawings. Olivia was recently featured as an AOL Artist, and the company donated $25,000 to the Audubon Society in her name. 

To appreciate the sacredness of nature doesn’t always take the insights of a naturalist like John Muir. Often it only requires an innocence of heart, usually a child’s — as in Matthew 18:3-4, to “become as little children.”

Unlike adults, young children don’t mince words just to win approval. What they see is what they say.

In her restoration of Theosophy in the world, H. P. Blavatsky was not abstract when it came to standing up for the planet —“help Nature and work on with her” she wrote — and stood up for what she saw as widespread animal abuse and cruelty. (See recent post: Animal Souls)

To become true planetary partners, Blavatsky wrote, we must learn from the Book of the Golden Precepts to “regain the child-state” we have lost.

Continue reading

Who is Malala?

Malala YousafzaiFROM earliest times, among all but modern western people, the teacher was accorded the greatest reverence.

Pupils were taught from an early age to look upon their teachers as second only to father and mother in dignity.

“It was a great sin, a thing that did one actual harm in his moral being,” explains William Q. Judge in Letter 12 of Letters That Have Helped Me, “to be disrespectful to his teacher even in thought.”

“The reason for this,” he says, “lies in the fact that a long chain of influence extends from the highest spiritual guide who may belong to any man, down through vast numbers of spiritual chiefs, ending at last even in the mere teacher of our youth.

“A chain extends up from our teacher or preceptors to the highest spiritual chief in whose ray or descending line one may happen to be. And it makes no difference whatever, in this occult relation, that neither pupil nor final guide may be aware, or admit, that this is the case.”

guruparampara2

Guruparampara

“Nor again does it matter that a child has a teacher who evidently gives him a bad system. This is his Karma, and by his reverent and diligent attitude he works it out, and transcends that erstwhile teacher. This chain of influence is called the Guruparampara chain.

“Thus it happens that a child who holds his teacher in reverence and diligently applies himself accordingly with faith, does no violence to this intangible but mighty chain, and is benefited accordingly, whether he knows it or not.”

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Kids, Cows and Hens: a Common Core

kids_big-bookWHAT is the real object of modern education, Mme. Blavatsky asked: “to cultivate and develop the mind in the right direction.

“To teach the disinherited and hapless to carry with fortitude the burdens of life?

“To strengthen their will — to inculcate in them the love of one’s neighbour and the feeling of mutual interdependence and brotherhood —  and thus to train and form the character for practical life? Not a bit of it.”

“And yet, these are undeniably the objects of all true education,” she insisted. “No one denies it — all your educationalists admit it, and talk very big indeed on the subject. But what is the practical result of their action? Every young man and boy, nay, every one of the younger generation of schoolmasters will answer:

“‘The object of modern education is to pass examinations’ … and thus train them for a life of ferocious selfishness and struggle for honours and emoluments instead of kindly feeling.

“And what are these examinations — the terror of modern youth? They are simply a method of classification by which the results of your school teaching are tabulated. In other words, they form the practical application of the modern science method to the genus homo, qua intellection.

remote-control-child

“Now ‘science’ teaches that intellect is a result of the mechanical interaction of the brain-stuff — therefore it is only logical that modern education should be almost entirely mechanical — a sort of automatic machine for the fabrication of intellect by the ton.

“Very little experience of examinations is enough to show that the education they produce is simply a training of the physical memory, and, sooner or later,” Blavatsky warned, “all your schools will sink to this level. As to any real, sound cultivation of the thinking and reasoning power, it is simply impossible while everything has to be judged by the results as tested by competitive examinations.”

When Education Goes Wrong

Full Title: “When Education Goes Wrong: Taking Creativity and Play Out of Learning.” Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita of Lesley University, writes frequently about the impact of media and other social influences on children’s lives and development.

Apostles-Learning-Center

Education Gone Right

She is also co-founder of Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit project whose purpose is to encourage educators to speak out about current policies that are affecting the education of young children.

In this talk, Nancy speaks about how educational institutions, in their attempts to meet the bureaucratic limitations of “Race to the Top” and “No Child Left Behind” policies, have eliminated creative play from early childhood education — resulting in the loss of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills in later years.

Child’s Play?

“Again, school training is of the very greatest importance in forming character, especially in its moral bearing. Now, from first to last, your modern system is based on the so-called scientific revelations:

‘The struggle for existence’ and the ‘survival of the fittest.’ All through his early life, everyone has these driven into them by practical example and experience, as well as by direct teaching, till it is impossible to eradicate from his mind the idea that “self,” the lower, personal self, is the end-all, and be-all, of life.

“Here you get the great source of all the after-misery, crime, and heartless selfishness … which as said over and over again, is the curse of humanity, and the prolific parent of all the evils and crimes in this life; and it is your schools which are the hot-beds of such selfishness.

defending-the-early-years

“The energies generated by the brain molecules of its adherents are all concentrated on one point, and are, therefore, to some extent, an organized army of educated and speculative intellects of the minority of men, trained against the … masses doomed to be vampirised, lived and sat upon by their intellectually stronger brethren.

“Result: The direct outcome of this branch of education is an overflooding of the market with money-making machines, with heartless selfish men — animals — who have been most carefully trained to prey on their fellows and take advantage of the ignorance of their weaker brethren!”

The Story of an Egg | PBS Online Film Festival 2013

“Eggs, as well as the chickens they come from, are both healthful sources of protein but ONLY if raised the way nature intended… Unfortunately, as illustrated in the video below, today’s agricultural model of factory farming has complicated what used to be a simple affair.” (Mercola.com)

Caging Kids

“All this is owing to the perniciousness of a system which turns out goods to order, irrespective of the natural proclivities and talents of the youth. The poor little candidate for this progressive paradise of learning, comes almost straight from the nursery to the treadmill…

“Here he is immediately seized upon by the workmen of the materio-intellectual factory … so that if he have any natural genius it is rapidly squeezed out of him… He will attain only sufficient knowledge of his own particular nation to fit him with a steel armour of prejudice against all other peoples [.]

“A proper and sane system of education should produce the most vigorous and liberal mind, strictly trained in logical and accurate thought, and not in blind faith.”

Happy Cowz

 

Inner Sensibility

Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves. We would reduce the purely mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum, and devote the time to the development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capacities.

kidsplaying

“We would endeavour to deal with each child as a unit, and to educate it so as to produce the most harmonious and equal unfoldment of its powers, in order that its special aptitudes should find their full natural development.

“We should aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish. And we believe that much if not all of this could be obtained by proper and truly theosophical education.

– H. P. Blavatsky
Edited excerpts from:
The Key to Theosophy, Section 13

Legacy of Luna 2

ELEVEN years old and willing to help was how Olivia Bouler described herself to the Audubon Society when she contacted them about the tragedy in the Gulf.

The aspiring ornithologist, artist, and saxophone player wept — like many of us — when she heard about the oil spill in the news.

But uniquely, Olivia was moved to help. Knowing birds were going to suffer, she had to take action.

Inspired by her hero, James Audubon, Olivia wrote to the Audubon Society about her fund-raising idea — using her talent as an artist to give bird drawings to those who donated to wildlife recovery efforts.

To date, she has drawn more than 100 different species of birds, and 400 + original drawings. Olivia was recently featured as an AOL Artist, and the company donated $25,000 to the Audubon Society in her name. Olivia’s Profile on AOL Artists

To appreciate the sacredness of nature doesn’t always take the insights of a naturalist like John Muir. Often it only requires an innocence of heart, usually a child’s — as in Matthew 18:3-4, to “become as little children.”

Unlike adults, young children don’t mince words just to win approval. What they see is what they say.

In her restoration of Theosophy in the world, H. P. Blavatsky was not abstract when it came to standing up for the planet —“help Nature and work on with her” she wrote — and stood up for what she saw as widespread animal abuse and cruelty. (See recent post: Animal Souls)

To become true planetary partners, Blavatsky wrote, we must learn from the Book of the Golden Precepts to “regain the child-state” we have lost. Continue reading

A Mind of Their Own

Buddha in the SnowKRISHNA assures an uncertain Arjuna that he has lived many lives on Earth.

“Both I and thou have passed through many births,” the Master tells his disciple (Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. 4:31):

“Mine are known unto me, but thou knowest not of thine.”

The fact is most people don’t recall their past lives, because in every rebirth the immortal soul must endure a new body and astral body, a new personality and a new physical brain. 

Being handed an empty photo album is a challenge to the incoming soul, hindering it finding a conscious connection to prior experiences and knowledge. Thus “the new ‘personality,’” Blavatsky wrote (Key to Theosophy, Ch. 8), “is no better than a fresh suit of clothes.”

Being so, yet “the record or reflection of all the past lives must survive,” H. P. Blavatsky continues, “for when Prince Siddhartha became Buddha the full sequence of His previous births were seen by Him.” In such a state he was able, she says, “to retrospectively trace the lines of all his lives.”

Continue reading

Self-Knowledge Is Of Loving Deeds The Child

hpb16

One must reach Self-Knowledge, and Self-Knowledge is of loving deeds the child.

Have patience, Candidate, as one who fears no failure, courts no success. Fix thy Soul’s gaze upon the star whose ray thou art, the flaming star that shines within the lightless depths of ever-being, the boundless fields of the Unknown.

Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure. Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeing life: it is the man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.

Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of LAWS — eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, an fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.

The Voice of the Silence

My point in presenting this perspective is that my experience shows that the gray area between non-functioning/oddly connected brain-mind situations with challenged individuals, and possible mystic realization (although I think unconscious), as revealed in their abstract behavior, is vast. Remember, I felt similarly about my late daughter Cherise, who had multiple disabilities, as revealed (I thought) through her behaviors. Surely, this is the best way for a parent to relate to these situations rather than resignation to a non-connection with persons like this.  But without a Theosophical education (there, without the grace of Theosophy, go I), I surely would have remained in the “dark.”

In fact, without some genuine study in true mystical studies, such as HPB’s The Voice of the Silence or perhaps something like Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms, there really cannot be enough actual information to go on, to decide whether the actions of one so afflicted with such karma, is displaying something based in mystical abstraction or simply disjointed mentation.

More to the point; I know that during my daughter’s seizure activity, if I were to look into her eyes as if I were looking to relate with that which resides “within” the troubled body/mind relationship, for the Real “Cherise,” and literally calling her to take charge or bring order, on occasion just that occurred. Over the years of my Theosophical study, I became more and more convinced that such behaviors as hers were based in a disorderly relationship between that which cannot know disorder, her Higher Self, and the personal man, where such disorders can reside. It was this kind of awareness (albeit initially without real knowledge or understanding) that provoked my original search for whatever wisdom existed that might further my intuitions and make them practical.

It is practical wisdom we need. Or the alternative is simply insisting that such afflicted individuals are always displaying some kind of disjointed mystically based behavior, is just a kind of “enlightenment” wishful thinking. This is where someone has sort of latched onto this kind of thinking through an introduction to Eastern or some kind of mystical thought, as a parent perhaps might. But without any real “substantial” awareness of anything mystical, or any real knowledge of what that even means, they might decide this behavior is mystical, given that alternative culturally acceptable ideals or models are just too negative. (which, of course, most are).

However, Theosophical teachings are clear on the relationship between the lower and Higher Self.  For all behaviors are essentially spoken to, to be altered by trillions of psychological and karmic variations to be sure, but not in cause, only in expression. So, all of our so-called “normal” behaviors are included as well. And that, I think, is the real test of such a philosophy regarding its practicality or lack thereof: Is it applicable to all conditions of human expression?

Steven Levey

It is easy to become a Theosophist. Any person of average intellectual capacities, and a leaning toward the meta-physical; of pure, unselfish life, who finds more joy in helping his neighbour than in receiving help himself; one who is ever ready to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who loves Truth, Goodness and Wisdom for their own sake, not for the benefit they may confer–is a Theosophist.

But it is quite another matter to put oneself upon the path which leads to the knowledge of what is good to do, as to the right discrimination of good from evil; a path which also leads a man to that power through which he can do the good he desires, often without even apparently lifting a finger.

H. P. Blavatsky


“The behaviors our children show are a reflection of our incompetence, not theirs.”

Dr. Marc Gold

marc-gold2Marc Gold began his career as a special education teacher in Los Angeles. It was there that he formulated a values based systematic training approach, “Try Another Way.” This approach was based on a few fundamental beliefs: Everyone can learn but we have to figure out how to teach; students with developmental disabilities have much more potential than anyone realizes; and all people with disabilities should have the opportunity to decide how to live their lives. These video segments demonstrate his philosophy, and the respect and value he placed on the abilities of each of his students.

Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities -http://www.mnddc.org

Dr. Marc Gold: “Try Another Way”

View the video… (26 Min.)

Or copy and paste this link into a new window:

http://www.mnddc.org/parallels2/four/video/video44-tryanotherway.html